Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood outside his home in Port Orange, Fla. on Thursday, March 16 2023. (Thomas Simonetti for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
An Alaska man who called himself “laseranon” and is currently facing two murder charges has now joined the ranks of the 4chan posters charged with threatening an anti-Nazi sheriff.Joshua Wahl, 31, was charged earlier this month with threatening Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood. Chitwood has been the target of online neo-Nazis since he made an impassioned anti-Nazi speech in February. Wahl is currently facing one first-degree and one second-degree murder charge, which police say are not connected to the online threats.
The story was first reported by Court Watch. A recently unsealed indictment against Wahl paints a picture of a man with a disturbing and embarrassing online footprint. Wahl posted to YouTube under the name “laseranon” (“anon” is apparently a nod to 4chan) and had videos of him “using high powered lasers and videos of others using lasers as weapons to blind law enforcement officials.” In 2019, the indictment alleges, he posted a photo of a pipe bomb with the caption “Kill all Jewish and Israeli children.”In February, Chitwood went viral when during a press conference about a neo-Nazi group in his county he called them “pure evil” and “losers,” showed pictures of them, and told the world of their past convictions—including how one attempted to solicit sex from a 14-year-old girl. “This clown group wants me to shut my big mouth and put a bullet in the back of my head,” Chitwood said. “Go for it." Like many other racist posters before him, Wahl couldn't resist this siren call, the documents allege. On 4Chan—an infamous image board known for its trolling and racist user base—Wahl allegedly posted “numerous threats to injure and kill Chitwood.” These threats are not too dissimilar to the other men charged with threatening the law enforcement official, but what sets Wahl apart is what he threatened him with.
“On or about March 31, 2023, Wahl sent Chitwood the following email threatening to injure and kill Chitwood, in that Wahl stated that he was armed with lasers and explosives, and included links to a video from Wahl's YouTube account showing Wahl utilizing a laser to burn a hole in a photograph of Chitwood, specifically in Chitwood’s face, and holding apparent explosives in front of a photograph of Chitwood,” reads the document. He posted similar threats on 4chan, the indictment states, and on April 5 posted that he was going to “blind and kill shitwood (in real life). I have been posting this for a month and I have not been arrested. I also got away with trying to blow up a synagogue.” He ended his post with, “I am an actual terrorist!!!!”Later that day, he posted that he would shoot Chitwood in the face with an “overpressure 10mm round” and that “until you get the balls to arrest me (in real life) I’ll still be here.” He resumed posting on April 21 and allegedly wrote that he was going to “kill Mike Chitwood (in real life,) not fucking video games… Come and do something about it fedboy.” Wahl was charged with cyberstalking and threatening Chitwood earlier this week. In August, Wahl was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree murder after a man and woman were found dead in a Dillingham apartment. Police have not released a motive for the killings. Police state the 31-year-old man took to 4Chan to post a video of the gun—which had the term “absolution” carved into it—found at the crime scene. He is currently in custody.Since Chitwood made his infamous anti-Nazi speech at the start of the year, online neo-Nazis haven't been able to help themselves from threatening the man. In March, a 38-year-old man who lived with his mother was arrested in New Jersey for making similar threats on 4Chan. During the arrest his mother apologized to police for her son’s room smelling ‘like a fucking gym locker.” Just a month later, another man was arrested for posting that he was planning on “shooting” Chitwood.“STOP TELLING CHITWOOD YOULL KILL HIM!” one worried 4Chan user wrote after the arrests.Speaking with VICE News in April, Chitwood said he’s happy to continue challenging the toxic ideology of the neo-Nazis, but it’s come with some consequences. On top of the frequent death threats, his parents have been doxxed and online neo-Nazis attempted, unsuccessfully, to SWAT them. Unsurprisingly, Chitwood was not silent about the most recent arrest. “Not every loser threatening violence on the Internet gets caught,” he wrote on Tuesday. “But I’m glad one more is getting a dose of reality.”